A few years ago we had a damn-near perfect society here, and then a number of our most aspirational children went away on a meditation camp and they came back emotionally and physically crippled. Infected by a Bad Mantra…’ (Extract from Nathaniel Mellors & Erkka Nissinen’s The Aalto Natives, 2017).

Matt’s Gallery presents Nathaniel Mellors & Erkka Nissinen’s Bad Mantra, the first in 2019’s series of longer form exhibitions in the 3x3x3 cubic gallery space at 92 Webster Road.

This is Nathaniel Mellors’ fourth exhibition at Matt’s Gallery and the first solo presentation of his collaborative practice with Erkka Nissinen and Nathaniel Mellors. The pair established their collaborative practice when they developed The Aalto Natives for the Finnish Pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale. It will continue along the artists’ solo practices.

Bad Mantra draws its title from an episode in The Aalto Natives. The work presented is a darkly humorous take on Finnish identity, creation myths and nationalism. From that installation has grown a body a work that extends and develops narratives from the video.

The puppet at the centre of the installation is everybody’s child; A one-puppet band, jamming a programmed improvisation created by the artists for the space. The installation develops Mellors’ long-standing interest in animatronics, combining kinetic sculpture with music and sound.

The work, shown at Kiasma as part of the pair’s exhibition The Aalto Natives in 2018, will be reconfigured in response to Matt’s Gallery’s 3x3x3 metre cubic space.

Bad Mantra is on at Matt’s Gallery, 92 Webster Road, Bermondsey, SE16 4DF from 2–24 February 2019, Weds–Sun 12–6pm. Admission: Free. Phone: 020 7237 0398